In a short video profile, SFI Omidyar Fellow Anne Kandler describes her research to model mathematically the decline of the Gaelic language of Scotland in search of insights about how endangered cultures might be preserved. 

See Anne tell her story (5 minutes)

"Today's rate of language extinction is tremendous," she says. "Half of the world’s 5,000 to 6,000 thousand languages could be lost in the next 100 years."

"If you don’t speak the language anymore, you’re not able to read old gravestone inscriptions, you’re not able to read old registers, so we lose part of our heritage, we lose part of our past, we lose part of our culture."

She believes the process of language shift is a good proxy for the process of cultural change. Her research seeks scientific insights about what initiates language shift, what are the benefits of individuals being bilingual, and what the temporal and spatial patterns of language shifts look like.

"The Omidyar Fellowship gives me an absolute unique opportunity to get input and become influenced by people who know the modeling side so well, but also from people who know the cultural side so well."

Learn more about the Omidyar Fellows in this video (6 minutes)

Meet the Omidyar Fellows

For every dollar you invest in the future of science through SFI's Omidyar Challenge Campaign, SFI receives a matching dollar that doubles the impact of your gift. Support the Omidyar Fellowship here.